The 280 mm Gun at the Nevada Proving Ground
- Publication date
- 280 mm gun, 280 mm, Mark 65 cannon, Atomic Annie, atomic shell, Mark 9 atomic shell, Upshot-Knothole, 1953, atomic, nuclear, Cold War, atomic testing, nuclear testing, military, national defense, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, radiation, radioactivity, fallout, radioactive
- U.S. Air Force Lookout Mountain Laboratory, Hollywood, California, USA
This operation conducted at the Nevada Test Site consisted of 11 atmospheric tests. There were three airdrops, seven tower tests, and one airburst. Conducted between March 17 and June 4, 1953, this operation involved the testing of new theories. A new and revolutionary method of producing deliverable nuclear weapons was successfully tested. Approximately 21,000 Department of Defense military and civilian personnel participated in Operation UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE as part of the DESERT ROCK V exercise.
Unfortunately, Operation UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE, particularly the "Harry" test, drew a great deal of criticism as resultant fallout levels produced increased offsite radiation exposures.
The tests comprising the 1953 Operation UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE were as follows:
ANNIE, March 17, tower, weapons related, 16 kilotons (kt)
NANCY, March 24, tower, weapons related, 24 kt
RUTH, March 31, tower, weapons related, 200 tons
DIXIE, April 6, airdrop, weapons related, 11 kt
RAY, April 11, tower, weapons related, 200 tons
BADGER, April 18, tower, weapons related, 23 kt
SIMON, April 25, tower, weapons related, 43 kt
ENCORE, May 8, airdrop, weapons effects, 27 kt [an important test in correlating blastwave and devastating precursor wave formation data of the Grable event]
HARRY, May 19, tower, weapons related, 32 kt
GRABLE, May 25, fired from 280 mm gun, 500 feet airburst, weapons related, 15 kt [equivalent to the yield of the bomb the destroyed Hiroshima, Japan]
CLIMAX, June 4, airdrop, weapons related, 61 kt
The Mark 9 nuclear artillery shell weighed 550 pounds and was fired 7 miles from the cannon firing location to the target array downrange.
The original state of this film was VERY grainy. The grain has been reduced only enough not to destroy details in artifacts resembling watercolor washing away of visual details. This film was locked away for decades in secret vaults. It therefore deteriorated over time with negelect and lack of controlled environments for what was later to be discovered as very unstable 16 mm Kodachrome I film. Colors faded, others bled through the celluloid, creating greenish to deeply blue patches in clear sky scenes, for example.
The clipping distortion of the cannon firing was in the original film and could be expected for microphones recording blasts from an 11 inches/280 mm bore cannon of 1953.
The license holder of this film insists that any site (or individuals) linking or independently displaying through any Internet protocol to this film, to visibly, clearly and fully credit in text this organization ["Nuclear Weapons Vault"] on any pages linked, for providing this film: "Provided by the Nuclear Weapons Vault" This license does NOT allow derivations or alterations of this film. This license does NOT allow use of any portion of this film as part of other films, and this license does NOT allow artistic or technical alterations or commercial uses. This license does NOT allow this film to be displayed other than its entirety in the final forms of the files posted at Archive.org.
- color, originated from 16 mm Kodachrome I celluloid stocks of the time
- 10 minutes 33 seconds
- This film has a license because of the personal work in technical processes of digitally improving this film's quality. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/ This license for "The280mmGunattheNevadaProvingGround1953" or "The 280 mm Gun at the Nevada Proving Ground" is held by financially contributing administrators of the Nuclear Weapons Vault, the provider of this film.
- Run time
Subject: The Intended Target was Korea/China
Hence, I think, the reason so much footage is devoted to showing how these things could move through cities and over rough roads. That is to say, they could travel in Korea to points near the battle line from which they could obliterate the North Korean/Chinese fortifications.
Our remaining 9 inch siege guns left over from WWII had been deployed quite successfully late in the Korean War; the Norks and Chinese simply began strengthening their positions even further. The atomic cannon rendered anything they did irrelevant.
Subject: It was 50's, everything had to be atomic.
Interesting film, if quite grainy like the description says. Probably could have half the time and still gotten their point across, but still fun to watch.
Subject: Not a valid license
Subject: Not something you see every day
What puzzles me is why they believed these weapons would be useful. With a range of only a few miles and taking some time to set up, surely it could be destroyed by Soviet aircraft well before their troops were within firing range?
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